China Food

Double growth for three consecutive years, interview with calf Casey: how to refine the first brand of Chinese steak after 8 years of deep cultivation in the supply chain?

“  
a good brand should become the engine of the whole industry chain.
 ”
Under the catalysis of lazy economy and epidemic situation, prefabricated dishes have increasingly become a regular guest on the table of contemporary young people.
 
However, the mainstream Chinese cuisine and instant hot (RTH) in today’s market may not be the best choice for current brands. On the one hand, instant or instant food is convenient and fast, but it has less sense of upgrading and ceremony; on the other hand, the standardization and taste of Chinese food are the stumbling block of the whole industry.
 
Under the general trend of catering industrialization, the rise of prefabricated dishes is inevitable, but how can brands step on the lifeline of the times and find the best solution? Casey, a calf who cuts into the pre cooked (RTC) steak, let us see a different answer.
 
RTC steak looks like a minority. In fact, in the past few years, the online average annual growth rate has always been maintained at more than 80%, and the offline growth rate is as high as 110%. The reason is not difficult to understand. As the main direction of China’s household meat consumption upgrading, the per capita consumption of beef is increasing year by year, and the annual growth rate of beef import in recent two years is as high as 50%.
However, under the traditional purchasing and cooking methods, it is time-consuming and labor-consuming, and it may be difficult to chew and digest. In contrast, RTC steak after micro pickling is more and more popular with young people and middle-class families. This is why steak can become one of the small household appliances with the fastest sales growth.
 
Today, the whole process of market education is still long, but compared with mature markets such as the United States and Japan, Chinese beef and RTC steak still have huge growth space. What really determines the category ceiling is whether to launch steak products suitable for Chinese people in combination with local eating habits.
 
This is the direction in which Casey Mavericks has been making efforts. Unlike many followers, this brand, which was founded in 2014 and has been making efforts for 18 years, has been deeply cultivated in the western food RTC track for nearly ten years. Rao Defei, founder of Casey Mavericks, has been immersed in the food deep processing and semi-finished products market since 2005. It has not only experienced several cycles of flow change, but also in the supply chain and products It also has a profound accumulation.
 
In fact, in the second half of last year, due to the epidemic (Salmon incident), the whole frozen product experienced a round of decline, but the tested team quickly adjusted its operation strategy and quickly reversed the situation to achieve contrarian growth. Gmv increased nearly 8 times in the first half of the year and reached nearly 150 million in October.
 
At the same time, calf Casey completed a round of financing of nearly 100 million yuan in the first half of this year, which is also the first time the team has contacted the capital market. “In the past, our mentality was business oriented and the pattern was not large enough. In the future, we should pursue a higher ceiling and establish the position of steak brand top 1”.
As mentioned in Liu run’s new year’s speech a few days ago, in today’s unpredictable market environment, there is no shortage of short-term enterprises. What is really scarce and sustainable is the brand with strong adaptability of calf Casey.
 
Recently, Inspur new consumption interviewed Rao Defei, founder of calf Casey, to see what kind of breaking ideas, supply chain and product philosophy are behind the counter trend growth of this “darwinfinch”.
Brand should become the engine of the whole industry chain
In fact, steak was introduced into China as early as the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty. It was mainly used by princes, nobles or businessmen to entertain foreign guests. It was also the tone set at this time that made steak a fashion symbol of the upper class for a long time. Today, Western restaurants often offer steak single meal of four or five hundred yuan, which still discourages most mass consumers.
 
Making a good steak that everyone can afford to eat became Rao Defei’s purest intention to establish calf Casey in 2014, but he began to try it in the form of offline western restaurant at that time.
Although by 2017, Rao Defei had cut off more than 60 Western restaurants across the country and began to make full efforts to transform online, it was the trial and error and demand verification in these five years that enabled calf Casey to complete the supply chain integration of factory and raw materials and have the confidence to start again.
 
In fact, from 2014 to 2017, the whole mass steak market went from 0-1, and the online market began to appear after 2016. Today, the whole industry is still in a very early stage, with ignorant consumers and mixed participants.
 
From the cutting process, seasoning methods to the price system, there is a lack of unified standards, and consumers lack the ability to distinguish. As a result, many bad businesses are shoddy and the industry is full of chaos.
 
At present, there are three types of steak in the market: original cut steak, whole cut steak and synthetic steak:
Original cut refers to a complete piece cut from a certain part of the cow without other additional processing, but the original cut steak suitable for family cooking needs to reach the level of grain feeding for more than 200 days, which is relatively expensive; while grass fed steak needs professional steak cooking skills because it tastes firewood and has a strong grass smell;
 
Synthetic steak, as the name suggests, is made of various ground beef processed and pressed with gum or other additives. There will be edible additives such as carrageenan or soy protein isolate in the raw materials.
Whole cut steak means that the original cut steak can be cooked after seasoning and thawing. It tastes better and more suitable for Chinese consumers. However, because some businesses blindly adopt the low price strategy and make the quality worse, the bad experience even makes consumers’ cognition of steak deviate.
This vicious circle of bad money expelling good money is the last thing Rao Defei wants to see. Over the past ten years, he has witnessed a similar process from rapid growth to decline in many categories such as chicken and pork. However, behind them, enterprises will stand up and start making high-quality and stable products. Finally, the industry will be led by “good money”.
 
Today, most players in the steak market still sell goods logically and lack a brand that can lead the industry. “A good brand should become the engine of the whole industry chain.” therefore, calf Casey also found his historical mission in a new stage.
 
Doubled for three consecutive years,
Four transformations behind the rise against the trend
With a new mission, calf Casey has made a series of adjustments and upgrades since 2017.
 
Also after this node, the development of calf Casey has entered the fast lane, growing at a rate of 150% every year, from 80 million in 2018 to 221 million in 2019, and then to exceed 600 million in 2020.
This year is more exaggerated, the average monthly growth rate in February -9 month reached 39%, and it is estimated that in November, the single month GMV will exceed 2019, and has grown into a “steak category TOP1” tiktok, Tmall and jitter.
 
What transformation has Casey Mavericks experienced behind the cold environment of e-commerce and the decline in the growth of other new brands?
 
“The most important thing is that in the past, we mistook the channel for the customer.” in fact, it is understandable that almost all players in this field today are channel oriented and even customized products for the channel. However, to become the engine of the industrial chain, we can’t be content to be a dependent of the channel.
 
Clarifying that the brand serves users and taking retention, repurchase and user experience as the core indicators is the bottom transformation of calf Casey. How to build a brand in a chaotic market? From the movement of calf Kathy, it can be divided into four points:
 
The first is to upgrade the brand and cognition and create a strong marketing content. There is a proverb in the brand circle that “cognition is greater than facts”. In such a low cognition market, helping users establish correct category cognition and expectation is the first priority.
In order to fight the first battle of the brand, calf Casey will focus on the Family steak from the western food RTC, and concentrate on strengthening the user’s mind. At the same time, VI has also made a new visual upgrade, including blue boxed, extension of its own IP, etc., to help the brand improve its recognition.
 
In terms of content, the team began to shake tiktok in 2019, and preempted the category bonus of steak keywords. On the one hand, establish a self owned account matrix to face different groups through different styles of accounts; On the other hand, the “100 Star Plan” was launched to create content and build momentum quickly with head stars, online celebrities and a large number of middle waist talents.
 
While conducting popular science education in the market, it has also accumulated a lot of brand potential energy for calf Casey.
 
The second is the explosive strategy based on product and supply chain upgrading. Good products are the foundation of the brand. In the past, the two core problems in the steak market were homogenization and unstable quality. In addition to continuously expanding and improving the quality control system team, calf Casey has defined two general directions:
 
First, we will not make splicing synthetic steak products, and all in high-quality whole cut steak. “At that time, few people believed and agreed, because there were almost no whole cut products sold online, and the whole market and factory were mainly prepared and spliced steak.”
 
As Rao Defei said, at that time, the demand for whole cut steak had not been opened, and the sales volume in the early stage was not high, but the category of low-end splicing steak had been “rotten”. Although it was “safe enough”, it was too difficult to rebuild the consumer cognition and play a differentiated advantage.
 
The second is to propose the localization of Western steak, and the whole brand concept is also adjusted to create a good steak more suitable for Chinese families. As an imported product, its taste and cultural characteristics are also the shackles to the public. For example, in the past two years, the red wine brand that encourages users to put aside traditional terms such as “tannin” and “sobering up” has begun to be sought after by young consumers, and steak also needs to be liberated from “Chinese style”.
 
In order to launch products more in line with the Chinese market, calf Casey has specially set up a R & D team to deeply study Chinese people’s eating habits and taste preferences.
 
For example, aiming at the nutritional and digestible needs of children, it pioneered vegetable juice children’s steak; For family scenes, after many blind tests by thousands of people, we found the thickness most suitable for Chinese cooking, and launched a new generation of 1.5cm whole cut thick juice steak; And for some consumers who prefer unprocessed steak, launch the original cutting innovative product with seasoning bag: Soul sprinkled star kitchen steak
 
These products tailored for Chinese people soon became popular with Baoma and young white-collar workers. Behind the continuous explosive capacity is a strong supply chain:
 
On the one hand, it has directly formed strategic cooperation with a number of gold farms around the world and has substantial control over raw materials, so that calf Casey can not only upgrade its products, but also give consumers enough surprise prices;
 
On the other hand, calf Casey is also comprehensively upgrading the production management scene this year, planning to establish an intelligent chemical plant “optimized at any time, developed at any time and put into operation at any time”. Through the automatic process, it not only improves the production efficiency and brings cost performance, but also improves the attention and response speed to the needs of users.
 
In the face of categories with low user awareness, the path of building a mental barrier by strengthening expert positioning, building a single category brand and deeply linking the brand with the category through explosion strategy has been verified in Sandun and a half and Zhong Xue higher brands.
 
By virtue of its supply chain advantages and understanding of products, Casey Mavericks has established a brand awareness, which has the prototype of an “industrial engine” benchmarking brand.
 
The third is experience upgrading based on closed-loop delivery. RTC steak, as a frozen semi-finished food, the timeliness of performance is also an important link affecting the stability of quality.
 
In the case that many peers use three connections and one delivery and cooperate with cloud warehouse, calf Casey has replaced JD and SF distribution. At the same time, it has built 15 self operated cold chain sub warehouses across the country, covering 4400 + counties and cities. It can be delivered as soon as 24 hours, and the performance experience has been greatly improved.
 
Although the performance cost has also increased, the overall performance cost rate is lower than the industry average because the customer unit price is higher.
In addition, a team responsible for DTC (direct to consumer) has been specially established to transform customer service from a sales role focusing on the transformation of inquiry orders to a consumer experience department, collect problems, listen to user feedback, and constantly iterate on the experience. This adjustment is also the most intuitive embodiment of calf Casey from channel logic to directly facing users.
 
The fourth is channel upgrading based on fine operation. Today’s fragmented era requires brands to cover all channels, but Casey Mavericks did not blindly spread out, but chose to focus on the online to occupy the absolute head, and then take the opportunity to expand rapidly offline.
 
On the tiktok, Casey is the main channel for Tmall, Jingdong, jitter and other mainstream. “Tmall needs brand building, bringing new traffic through tiktok, and the trembling is still a bonus period, so we need to continue to study its logic and rules.”
 
The channels are highly dispersed, so it is very important to find the matching operation strategy and rhythm of each channel. Obviously, calf Casey has a very keen sense of smell in this regard, and steps on the key nodes every step.
Of course, with the fading of traffic dividends and the more transparent rules of the game, everyone’s content and marketing methods began to converge. However, with excellent product strength, the average ROI of calf Casey was as high as 5-7, far exceeding the average level of the industry.
 
In addition, in order to cope with the end of the bonus period, calf Casey’s private domain system has also begun to be built. At present, the number of members has reached hundreds of thousands, and the repurchase rate is 4-5 times that of the e-commerce platform. The private domain has gradually become an important channel for calf Casey to prolong LTV.
With the help of online marketing potential, the offline layout of calf Casey is also accelerating. The first stage strategy is to deeply layout East China. At present, it has cooperated with KA such as HEMA, Yonghui and RT Mart in nearly 3000 stores.
Moreover, in order to directly interact with consumers and improve mobile sales, Rao Defei did not choose dealers, but let the team connect directly with KA channels.
 
“The online bonus is close to the ceiling, and the future will be offline.” in his opinion, the offline marketing cost is lower, the re purchase will be better and better, and there is still a huge space to be explored. The offline sales are expected to contribute 10% this year, and it will be a healthy state to reach 40% in the future.
 
In fact, many retailers are also actively seeking change today. If they keep selling the old three things, they will only be abandoned by young people. There is a mutual promotion and close relationship between brand and retail. Today, the brand potential built by calf Casey also makes it the first choice for offline Ka channels, and the product premium rate is also a leader in the industry.
 
Output standard “group fight”,
Leader’s brand pattern
For calf Casey, self iteration in terms of products, channels and brands will be a long-term and sustained battle. However, the power of a single brand is limited after all. In order to really open the market, we must drive the whole industrial chain to change and upgrade.
 
At present, the most important thing is the output standard. Therefore, calf Casey and China Meat Association jointly promote the formulation of the group standard steak and its quality grade. At the same time, they also joined the China Food Industry Association to actively participate in the standardization of online steak products.
 
From raw materials and technology to moisture content and thickness, calf Casey has invested a lot of research and discussion in order to find a steak product standard that is really suitable for Chinese people.
 
At present, the whole process of standard establishment and education still has a long way to go, but the investment in this early stage also provides an excellent window for brands to seize the mental gap.
In the future, we are looking forward to the extension of the whole western food, even Chinese food RTC and other categories, and will continue to deepen the layout and empowerment in the back-end links such as raw materials and factories.
In terms of steak RTC field, whether it is the industrial accumulation in the past decade or today’s deep cultivation in product upgrading, standard building and channel construction, calf Casey has undoubtedly come to the forefront of the industry. The wild hope to drive the benign development of the industry also shows the brand pattern that industry leaders should have.
I believe that the role of calf Casey will become more and more important in the process of steak entering hundreds of millions of family tables in China.
Author: Cao Rui; Source: Inspur new consumption (ID: lcxinxiaofei), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246);
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